Stories tagged beer

Mosquito: Researchers have tracked several traits that make people be more susceptible to mosquito bites. How do you rate?
Mosquito: Researchers have tracked several traits that make people be more susceptible to mosquito bites. How do you rate?Courtesy JJ Harrison
With all the rain we've had this summer, the conditions are prime for creating large mosquito populations. And researchers have now figured out certain factors – like blood type – that can make people be more tasty targets for the little buzzers. Question, do you think mosquitoes prefer to strike beer drinkers? Click here to find the answer to that, and other factors that can impact your appeal to mosquitoes.

Ever pull that old bottle of beer out of the back of the fridge and try to remember how old it is? Should I drink it? It might be months, maybe even a year or two old. Well how about 11,000-year-old breweries? Archaeologists have found some very old evidence of breweries and it has created a debate over if grain production started as a way to make beer or bread.

Modern tap (Barcelona, Spain)
Modern tap (Barcelona, Spain)Courtesy Tom Raftery

In preparation for the Science Museum's upcoming Social Science event, "Fermentational Informational," I've been reading about weird beer glasses.

Not to be confused with beer goggles, the shapes of these "containers that hold our libations" are apparently pretty important -- at least in terms of understanding

"the technologies and the knowledge at our disposal through the ages."

For serious: Anthropologist Krystal D'Costa says so in Scientific American!

Apr
23
2009

Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.: Or, as the poets say, "hubba-hubba."
Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.: Or, as the poets say, "hubba-hubba."Courtesy beardenb

In the Spring, a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love. Or so Tennyson wrote. Here at Science Buzz, we don’t truck with none o’ that mushy stuff. If you can’t measure it with real, live numbers, then heck, it may as well not exist.

So, in our endless quest to serve you better, we round up the latest findings from Doctor Love:

Men like pretty women

(Wait a minute – didn’t we do this one before?)

Women like flashy cars

Women like men with a sense of humor. Why, they trampling over Tom Selleck to get to Buddy Hackett!*

And, in the one finding that wasn't screamingly obvious,

When you’re drunk, people do not look more attractive to you. Which seems only fair – when you’re drunk, you don’t look particularly attractive yourself. No offense.

* I heard a stand-up comic deliver that line some 20 years ago. Hence the dated reference. But when you’re right, you’re right.

Students at Rice University are attempting to brew beer that contains resveratrol, a chemical that lowers the risk of heart disease and cancer. They plan to genetically engineer yeast, which is used in fermentation, to produce the chemical.

No word on how one can sign up to be a test subject.

Drinking makes you think other people are more attractive, a phenomenon commonly known as “beer goggles.”

Without beer, there would
Be no civilization
Worthy of the name
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Sci-ku ™ -- haiku in the service of science!

Jul
30
2008

Bud-weis-er: Tree shrews of Malayia have been found to go on two-hour benders each night, drinking "palm beer" from the fermented nectar of palm trees in the rain forests. And they don't even have a hangover the next morning.
Bud-weis-er: Tree shrews of Malayia have been found to go on two-hour benders each night, drinking "palm beer" from the fermented nectar of palm trees in the rain forests. And they don't even have a hangover the next morning.Courtesy S. Karthikeyan
Where are the places that you find high amounts of alcohol consumption? College campuses, sea ports that host sailor shore leaves, NFL stadium parking lots. Now add the Malaysian rain forest to that mix.

It seems that the tiny pen-tailed tree shrew can drink any and all of its larger mammalian cohorts under the table. In fact, life is just one long happy hour for this little creature.

The shrews have a steady diet of “palm beer,” a fermented concoction that occurs in the nectar of flowers of the Bertram palm. Scientists have measured the alcohol content to the “palm beer” to be 3.8 percent, about the same level as most brewed beers.

Through their research, scientists have found the shrews spend about two hours a night guzzling their “palm beer.” And by testing hair samples of the critters, they’ve discovered the beer is their primary food source and that their alcohol consumption is at a rate that would likely kill other mammals.

But don’t set up an intervention and head the pen-tailed shrews off to a 12-step program just yet. Over their 55 million years of existence, they’ve developed a tolerance to alcohol that allows them to have normal functionality despite their heavy beer intake. After all, a drunk shrew is going to be pretty easy pickings for a larger predator. It appears that the shrews have developed a fast-paced metabolism to be able to handle their beer intake with little effect.

So keep this in mind if you’re hosting a kegger any time soon. The more pen-tailed tree shrews you invite, the more beer you’re going to need to have on hand.

Mar
27
2008

Science marches on: Members of B.U.G., the Beer Users Group, meet to discuss important issues of the day.
Science marches on: Members of B.U.G., the Beer Users Group, meet to discuss important issues of the day.Courtesy mrlerone

Does drinking beer impede scientific progress? Say it ain’t so! But a study published in a Czech journal indicates that the more beer a scientist drinks, the fewer papers they will publish, and the lower quality those papers will be. Given that most scientific discoveries – heck, most human endeavor in any field – is fueled by fermented barley and hops, this came as quite a surprise, and threatened to shake the scientific community to its very foundation.

Fortunately, Chris Mack, a chemical engineer in Austin, Texas, read the paper and found several flaws. First, he reminds us that correlation is not causation – just because two phenomena appear together does not prove that one caused the other. Second, he feels that the sample size in the study is small. But most of all, he notes that the weak correlation between beer drinking and poor publication comes almost entirely from a handful of scientists at the bottom of the scale. Eliminate them from the study, and the rest of the sample shows almost no correlation. As Mack states,

“[T]he entire study came down to only one conclusion: the five worst ornithologists in the Czech Republic drank a lot of beer.”

Our faith in the scientific method restored, we can all sleep easier tonight.

Dec
01
2007

All hail to the beer fridge!: Canadian beer drinkers are destroying the planet, but having too good a time to notice.
All hail to the beer fridge!: Canadian beer drinkers are destroying the planet, but having too good a time to notice.Courtesy Brian Warren

Canadians love their beer. However, possessing only the standard number of kidneys (2), they must drink it slowly, and store it until they are ready. To keep their cold ones, er, cold, they have developed the tradition of the “beer fridge” – an old, used refrigerator, kept in the garage or the basement, and used just for beer and snacks. (Newer, nicer fridges go in the kitchen.)

But a new study by the Canadian government claims that this piece of native culture is wrecking the environment. The old refrigerators use more energy than newer models. Researchers have suggested buy-back programs, which basically amounts to taxpayers buying me a new fridge. Finally, a government subsidy we can all get behind!

There’s no reliable data on the energy consumption of the beer-launching fridge, clearly the greatest achievement in the history of civilization.